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Comment What are they doing up there? (Score 3, Insightful) 250

Maybe the reason more Russians are going up than Americans is because it costs $71Million to send an American.

NASA's 2014 budget is ~$17.5B, and they do a lot of really good stuff, the ISS is kinda low on that totem pole, if you ask me. There's a lot more to space exploration than sitting in the ISS, babysitting experiments, chatting with school kids and waiting for your ride

Comment Re:The reason is private insurance (Score 1) 786

You're assuming the information was there to be read at that time. I don't know if that is the case. It might have been, but it might have also been that insurers were waiting to see how the Supreme Court case would work out and how the states would address their issues and any number of other things before settling on a price.

I think they should have rolled it out as an "invitation only" service like gmail. Do that for about a month to work out the more egregious problems and then open the floodgates. That is hard to do with a piece of legislation, especially in the current political environment.

After the fact it's always obvious what should have been done. Oddly enough, it's always a different thing with each failure or accident. Things never seem to go perfectly, with even the most carefully planned projects.

Not knowing much about it, this seems like a pretty run-of-the-mill project management failure. The same kind that afflicts nearly every private enterprise (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM) you can name.

Comment Re:The reason is private insurance (Score 1) 786

How many failed Supreme Court challenges did the Slashdot comment system face, Mr. Non-sequitor?

We can have a discussion about the merits of the law anytime you want. This is a discussion about the difficulties of designing and implementing a website. In particular, we are discussing whether "government" (however you want to define that) is inferior to private enterprise when designing and building things. In this discussion, I pointed out a way that private enterprise we're all familiar with struggled to do something kinda similar.

No one is facing the threat of fines for not using the healthcare.gov website. The exchanges are open. The website is working. If you have a state with a functional government, your state exchange is probably working quite well. If you don't want to use a website you can sign up by phone or with a printed application. You can also get free in-person assistance from organizations in your area. Of course, if you already have insurance from your job, you don't need to do anything.

Comment A sense a proportion (Score 1) 786

No one is going to die because the website doesn't work. Comparing this to the moon landing is so sophomoric it could only come from USA Today. But it's nothing like landing on the moon in scale, expense, or national achievement. healthcare.gov is a website. It's important for the ACA and it's important for individuals looking to purchase health insurance, but there are alternative ways to shop for insurance on the exchanges.

Not everything need be bandied about for political gain.

Comment Re:The reason is private insurance (Score 5, Insightful) 786

there's nothing complicated about integrating the federal income and identity verification with state eligibility systems and dozens or hundreds of private insurers systems, ensuring that no information "leaks out" and that everything works in real time? There's nothing complicated about that?

It should have worked. It didn't. That's life. Remember when Slashdot rolled out its new commenting system? That sucked. We all complained. Now it works fine and nobody thinks about it. But I don't remember anyone arguing that it was a sign that private web companies were incapable of designing functional websites.

Comment $136 Billion in Today's Dollars (Score 4, Informative) 786

NASA's budget peaked in the period 1964-1966, during the height of construction efforts leading up to the first moon landing under Project Apollo which involved more than 34,000 NASA employees and 375,000 employees of industrial and university contractors. Roughly 4% of the total federal budget was being devoted to the space program.


My back of the envelope calculation puts 4% of the US's 2013 budget expenditures at $150 billion. So an equivalent enterprise by the United States government would be roughly half a trillion dollars.

The failure of healthcare.gov to work properly shows what everyone here on Slashdot already knows: project planning is difficult.

Comment Apollo 1? Apollo 13? (Score 5, Informative) 786

Our efforts to land on the moon didn't go smoothly. Also we spent a lot more money to go to the moon.

Apollo 1 was scheduled to be the first manned mission of the U.S. Apollo manned lunar landing program, with a target launch date of February 21, 1967. A cabin fire during a launch pad test on January 27 at Launch Pad 34 at Cape Canaveral killed all three crew members—Command Pilot Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom, Senior Pilot Edward H. White II and Pilot Roger B. Chaffee—and destroyed the Command Module (CM).


Apollo 13 was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon... but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended. Despite great hardship caused by limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew returned safely to Earth on April 17.


Complex problems are complex.

Comment Re:God f-ing DAMMIT Slashdot, really? (Score 4, Interesting) 663

You're adding emphasis wrong. And you completely misquoted the article!

First of all, the first sentence of the article says unambiguously:

[Apple] is blocking the use of unauthorized third party Lightning cables with iOS 7

Your quote comes from a couple lines down:

There is word going around that some unauthorized cables with cracked chips have been working with iOS 7. Apple will probably shut the door on the usage of the latter in a future update.

OK, inappropriate use of the phrase "the latter" but in context it's pretty clear. TFA says that Apple is currently blocking "unauthorized" cables, but despite this some unauthorized cables with "cracked chips" may still be working. Of course, since iOS 7 is blocking unauthorized cables it stands to reason that Apply will try to disable unauthorized cables that use "cracked chips".

Whether they will be able to do so is kinda irrelevant to the main thrust here which is that Apple used an operating system upgrade to lock out third party cable makers. Wont someone think of the poor airline stewardesses!

IMHO, this news is just piling on considering the fact that your iPhone uses a custom adapter that is incompatible with all other phones, costs 5 times as much as it should, and will be forced into obsolescence after a few generations.

Comment Re:How do they get the data? (Score 1) 347

the part of all this reporting that's weirdly missing is the implication (to my mind) of across the board compliance of every major telco, ISP, service providers, and software company around the globe. Not only is Google/Yahoo/Microsoft/Facebook mining your searches and scanning your emails to target advertising, but they are apparently actively assisting the NSA to do even more intensive sorting, storing, and mining of your activity.

Comment Slides read like advertising copy (Score 1) 347

"No other system does this!" is repeated on practically every slide. This smells a lot like a sales pitch. Kinda like a private contractor trying to upsell a government agency. I am not saying that this isn't legit, but if a salesman tells you that their system does "unbelievable and unparalleled thing X" (ahem, decoding, storing, and indexing all VPN traffic around the world) he better have more than just a slide to prove it.

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